Acts 2:17 – And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.
One of the great truths discovered and proclaimed in the Reformation was the doctrine of the priesthood of the believer. Luther loved and taught this doctrine. The Old Testament priesthood was revoked, the Lord was pouring out His Spirit on all mankind. There was no longer a priestly tribe who dominated spiritual activity. The outpouring of the Spirit was not even limited to those of Jewish ancestry. To make matters even more shocking, even women and young children could receive the anointing and actually minister to and for the Lord. Martin Luther had been a monk and a priest teaching the Bible at a college in Germany. Once he was born again, he began to embrace what he called the priesthood of all believers. Everyone could now be a priest of the Lord. Here are some comments from Luther on this passage.
“Flesh, that is every kind of person. “There will be no distinction, I will pour out the Holy Spirit from heaven, so that all people will prophesy.” Therefore the Levitical priesthood will be revoked and a new priesthood will be established, as he indicates by “your sons, daughters, my servants.” This means “every kind of flesh” or person. I will accept women, young girls, and I will teach them all how they should prophesy. Slaves will enter [the prophetic] office, just like Anna and young girls. Therefore the [old] priestly courses are abolished…. For our preaching office must be correct, and it is not hampered just because it is not from the tribe of Aaron. Peter was not from the priestly estate, nor were any of the apostles, nor was Christ. This new office is not started by priests but by others from the other tribes.”
Luther’s teachings caused quite a stir in the Catholic Church in the 1500’s. Jesus was our only mediator and all of us could be priests unto the Lord. These two doctrines are critical in our Christian walk. We have access by faith into the presence of the Father through the intercessory work of Christ. Because we have been justified by faith, we now have access into His presence. Its from the anointing found in His presence that the Spirit of prophesy falls on us that we too can minister as a priest of God.
Lk.1:46,47 – And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior”.
Mary is describing supernatural utterance as she begins this prophetic song. She says ‘My soul magnifies the Lord’. This is exactly how Luke describes the supernatural utterance in tongues when describing what happened to the gentiles in Cornelius’s house. He said that the Jewish believers were shocked when they heard the gentiles speak in tongues and magnify God. This is how Luke described it, Acts 10:46,47 – “And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God”. The prayer language is a vocal, supernatural language declaring the magnificence of the Lord. Mary was so full of God that she too broke out in a prophetic song magnifying the Lord. This is how Adam Clarke describes Mary’s song.
“This is the only way in which God can be magnified, or made great; for, strictly speaking, nothing can be added to God, for he is infinite and eternal; therefore the way to magnify him is to show forth and celebrate those acts in which he has manifested his greatness.”
Mary’s prophetic song is an example of how people respond when they are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. The prayer language and the gift of prophesy is how we pour out this blessing. Mary was a picture of the church about to be birthed through the ministry of her Son. Her angelic visitation and the overshadowing with the Holy Spirit marked her for the rest of her life. She was totally consumed, inside and outside, with the mighty presence of the Holy Spirit. Here is Clarke speaking about Mary being filled with God.
“My spirit hath rejoiced. Exulted. These words are uncommonly emphatical, they show that Mary’s whole soul was filled with the Divine influence, and wrapped up in God.”
This would not be the last encounter Mary would have with the mighty anointing of the Holy Spirit. In the book of Acts, Luke lists Mary as being in the upper room when the Holy Spirit came upon everyone in the room. He said that everyone there spoke in other tongues. Here again we see Mary magnifying the Lord with her Spirit songs. The good news for us, we can all be overshadowed with the Holy Spirit and pour out our hearts in prophetic songs.
Acts 19:1,2 – And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
This description of the birth of the church in Ephesus is critical in understanding the purpose and the power of the Christian life and the Christian church. Christianity is not a creed or a system that we espouse, it is a dynamic life birthed and empowered in us through the Holy Spirit. In this chapter of the book of Acts we see the church in Ephesus birthed after an outpouring of the Spirit on twelve Christians. Paul laid his hands on them and prayed when he realized they had never been baptized in the Holy Spirit. When Paul laid his hands on them they began to speak in tongues and prophesy. This was the birthing of the power source in these twelve Christians that shook all of Asia Minor with thousands of converts and many churches that were birthed. Today’s world is no different. I feel like asking that same question to many churches and even pastors today, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit after you believed?” Our churches need to be baptized in His presence if we are going to effect our world today. Here are some comments from the Life in the Spirit Commentary on this passage.
“Paul perceives their need for the anointing and asks, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”. This question deals with their experience of the Spirit… Paul’s question does not deal with their receiving the Holy Spirit at the moment of conversion. From the time the Ephesian twelve were converted, they were indwelt by the Holy Spirit, as all Christians are. Thus, the question is not about receiving the Spirit in salvation, but about what is basic to Luke–Acts and to the immediate context, namely, the Spirit’s anointing with power subsequent to the experience of salvation… Paul recognizes, therefore, that the Ephesian twelve are lacking in regard to the charismatic gift of the Spirit…..”
Are you lacking the power of the Spirit in your life? The immersion or baptism in the Spirit is something that happens again and again in our lives. If you are thirsty and feel powerless find a place where the Spirit is moving and camp out, you too will speak in tongues and prophesy.